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SOA & WOA: Article

Five Reasons to Start a SOA Technology Company Now

There are huge opportunities today, as long as you make the right moves

I know, the economy is rough these days.  Myself, I'm unwilling to look at my mutual funds until we're through this.  However, when times are tough, markets normalize, and while the stock holders and venture capitalists out there are crying in their beers, now could be a great time to start something new for those innovative and resourceful few.

The idea is that when it does not seem like a good time to start a company, typically that is the best time to start a company.  In this case you’re looking to bring in second generation technology, or technology created out of the lessons learned in the first.  Thus, you have a better understanding of the problems at hand, and how SOA technology can solve those problems.   There are huge opportunities here, as long as you make the right moves.

So, here are five reasons why you should start a SOA technology company now:

The competition is down. Many SOA technology companies have been acquired by the big guys, and the ones remaining seem to be lacking focus and innovation -- and perhaps funding -- these days.  Now is a time to start something new and out-innovate both the behemoths and the old maids.  There are plenty of good ideas left, trust me.

You can do more with less. The days of needing $10 million, minimum, to make any sort of impact in the market are long past.  Today, virtual companies, cloud computing, and the other cost-effective tools make it possible to start and run a company at a fraction of the burn of just a few years ago.  There are many examples of these types of companies in the Web 2.0 space, but not many in the SOA space.

There are many core SOA problems that are left to be solved.  Not to get into any specifics here, but as SOA moves from the experimentation to the production stages, clearly there are a number of solutions that have yet to be developed to address many of the needs of the SOA practitioners out there.  Not sure why they were missed, but they indeed were missed. We can call these "second-generation SOA solutions."

The merging of the Web and SOA has just begun. The whole WOA space is emerging quickly, and you can really just call it what it is: Extending SOA beyond the firewall, or the Global SOA.  While we've been writing and speaking a lot about this (especially me), there are many opportunities to capitalize on emerging solutions.

We know more than we did 5 years ago. Years ago when the SOA startups began to emerge, they leveraged an early understanding of the concepts of SOA.  Today, we have a much-improved understanding as to what works, what does not, and what was just meaningless hype. Knowledge, context, and innovation are huge strategic advantages, especially if you're not hindered by a product that seemed like a good idea years ago, but not so much these days.

I expect that we will see a few SOA startups get going for the reasons I just listed.  However, most entrepreneurs will sit on the sidelines for now, and that’s good for those who are starting new businesses.  

The path to success will have to include the ability to recognize the missing pieces of the SOA technology stack, perhaps even before the SOA architects have.  Also, you need to make sure that you’re focused on the problem.  Far too many SOA technology companies try to boil the ocean, and never really do any specific thing well.  Don’t make that mistake.

Hopefully we’ll soon have a new crop of SOA solutions out there.  The list of problems that still need to be solved is long.

More Stories By David Linthicum

Dave Linthicum is Sr. VP at Cloud Technology Partners, and an internationally known cloud computing and SOA expert. He is a sought-after consultant, speaker, and blogger. In his career, Dave has formed or enhanced many of the ideas behind modern distributed computing including EAI, B2B Application Integration, and SOA, approaches and technologies in wide use today. In addition, he is the Editor-in-Chief of SYS-CON's Virtualization Journal.

For the last 10 years, he has focused on the technology and strategies around cloud computing, including working with several cloud computing startups. His industry experience includes tenure as CTO and CEO of several successful software and cloud computing companies, and upper-level management positions in Fortune 500 companies. In addition, he was an associate professor of computer science for eight years, and continues to lecture at major technical colleges and universities, including University of Virginia and Arizona State University. He keynotes at many leading technology conferences, and has several well-read columns and blogs. Linthicum has authored 10 books, including the ground-breaking "Enterprise Application Integration" and "B2B Application Integration." You can reach him at [email protected] Or follow him on Twitter. Or view his profile on LinkedIn.

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